Yii soogwachi deebiru! (“Happy New Year” in Uchinaaguchi, one of the native Ryūkyūan languages)

The Okinawa Association of America, Inc. (OAA) invites members, family, and friends to ring in the Year of the Rabbit at their annual New Year’s party.

Set for Sunday, Jan. 15, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Carson Community Center, this will be their first in-person New Year’s celebration after a two-year hiatus.

Early reservation is closed, but limited tickets are available for an additional $10 per person (included in prices below). Contact the OAA office at (310) 532-1929 or oaamensore@gmail.com. Tables are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Face masks are required. Each reservation includes event admission and an entrée of choice for $65 (beef brisket or portobello mushroom). To encourage more families to attend, there are discounted prices for children ($40, ages 3-10) and students ($50, ages 11-18 with a copy of student ID).

Enjoy an afternoon of traditional Okinawan music and dance, crowd favorites Ryūkyūkoku Matsuri Daiko Los Angeles Branch, and special guest performers. This event is unique in that it features a classical music and dance ensemble performing songs that date back to the Ryūkyū Kingdom era.

The raffle drawing includes great prizes such as a round-trip ticket to Japan donated by Uyehara Travel, a 43″ Toshiba Smart TV donated by Kamiya Insurance Agency, $300 sponsored by the OAA, gift cards, and more. Raffle tickets are only $2 each and can be purchased at the event. Event attendance is not required to win prizes.

Another staple of the OAA New Year’s party is the silent auction. This year’s will differ from previous years as it will include an online component where participants can start bidding from Jan. 8 and place their proxy bid (maximum bid amount) on the morning of the event (http://32auctions.com/oaanyp23). During the height of the pandemic, online auctions became a new fundraising tool for the organization.

To make a reservation or to sign up as a volunteer (service hours available for students), contact the OAA office: oaamensore@gmail.com, (310) 532-1929 (weekdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.)

The Carson Community Center is located at 801 E. Carson St. in Carson. Parking is free of charge.

OAA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is dedicated to preserving and promoting Okinawan culture. Formed by first-generation Okinawan immigrants (Issei), OAA has grown into a multi-generational organization that hosts numerous events throughout the year, including cultural lectures, performances, social gatherings, and senior-focused activities. 2019 marked the organization’s 110th anniversary as well as the 20th anniversary of the OAA Center in Gardena.

During the pandemic, OAA continued pursuing their mission virtually via Zoom and YouTube with a number of cultural presentations and monthly gatherings. Senior wellness projects such as check-in phone calls, complimentary face masks, care packages, and bentō lunch drive-thrus were also organized.

For more information about the OAA’s yearly activities, including performances, lectures, workshops, and more, sign up for their email list (http://tinyurl.com/oaaemail) or follow them on Facebook/Instagram (@oaamensore).

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